People of note
Remembering Lawrence White
Striking a chord in SE22
The vicars of Dulwich
ue Iss 6
A f r e e n e w s p a p e r fo r D u lw i c h
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NEWS | 3
Welcome to issue six of The Dulwich Diverter Thank you for picking up the March/ April edition of The Dulwich Diverter, your free community paper for Dulwich. This issue is dedicated to our friend Lawrence White, owner of Roullier White on Lordship Lane, who sadly passed away in January. Lawrence was a well-known local resident and a driving force in the East Dulwich community, whose presence will be hugely missed. Turn to page six to read tributes from his family and friends. Putting together this issue has taken us to all corners of Dulwich. With Easter
coming up, there’s a recipe for orange and marzipan hot cross buns from East Dulwich food writer Naomi Knill on page 26, and a photo essay on local vicars and their churches on page 16. We also had a chat with East Dulwichbased urban artist the Artful Dodger (page 14) and met local resident and cartoonist Peter Duggan. Turn to page 22 for an interview with him and a selection of his strips. The next issue of the paper (May/June) will mark one year in print for The Dulwich Diverter, which launched in May 2016 after raising almost £11,000 on Kickstarter.
We now rely solely on advertising revenue to keep publishing the paper – and there’s plenty of good reasons to book a space. The Diverter is now stocked in 130 local places across East, West, North Dulwich and the Village, as well as Herne Hill and Forest Hill. We’re also the only local publication with our own dedicated stand in M&S on Lordship Lane and Sainsbury’s on Dog Kennel Hill. Together with our sister title The Peckham Peculiar, we have a following of 21,700 people on our highly interactive Twitter accounts – thousands more than any other south-east London title.
Furthermore, the money we make through advertising helps us fund the high quality community journalism, photography, illustration and design that are the hallmarks of both titles we produce. To find out more about advertising or to book a space in the May/June issue of the paper, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. As you can see from this edition, you’ll be in excellent company. We hope you enjoy the issue! Mark McGinlay and Kate White
Taking the plunge An East Dulwich resident is aiming to swim 22 miles – the length of the English Channel – in her local pool. Zoe Byatt has taken on the daunting challenge, which she’s swimming in instalments, to raise cash for Diabetes UK. The 28-year-old was diagnosed with type one diabetes when she was 16 so it’s a cause close to her heart. The self-confessed “terrible swimmer” said the distance equates to 1,416 lengths of the pool at Dulwich Leisure Centre on Crystal Palace Road. “I swim in the slow lane doing breaststroke, so it’s definitely quite a challenge,” she laughed. Zoe is aiming to complete the swim by May 22. “The distance is the equivalent of the English Channel,” she said. “Obviously swimming in a pool is a lot easier and I’m not doing it all in one go. But it is still quite far.” She described living with diabetes as “pretty hardcore” and “painful, exhausting, scary and tedious all at the same time”. She said: “Anything affects sugar levels – stress, exercise, even the weather. You always have to think about it, which gets very boring.” The businesswoman, who runs her own audio projects company with her partner,
was invited to vlog about her swim by Diabetes UK – and hopes the swim will inspire others to take up the challenge. “I run my own business and because I work from home I never do any exercise,” she said. “I thought this would be a good way to get fit and hopefully inspire other diabetic people to take up the challenge or do more exercise.” Diabetes UK was established in 1934 and was co-founded by science fiction author HG Wells. The registered charity cares for, connects with and campaigns on behalf of people affected by diabetes. Today the organisation has more than 170,000 members and works with diabetics, their families and friends – as well as healthcare professionals – to offer practical support and improve UK diabetes care. The number of people living with diabetes in the UK is about 3.5 million and a further 550,000 are undiagnosed, according to diabetes.co.uk. The total figure represents six per cent of the population and has risen by more than two million since 1996. Donate to Zoe’s page at justgiving.com/ fundraising/Zoe-Byatt
Make a splash If you’re looking for a new challenge this spring, why not jump in your local pool and join the Swimathon. More than half a million swimmers have taken part in the annual event over the last 30 years, raising £46 million for good causes. Swimmers of all ages, abilities and fitness levels are welcome to get involved, either on their own or with a team. Individual challenges range from 1.5k to 5k swims and
cash raised goes to Marie Curie, a charity supporting people with terminal illness and their families. The Swimathon is held in April at more than 600 venues across the UK, including several pools in Dulwich. JAGS (pictured) and Dulwich College sports clubs are both running sessions on April 7 and 8. Sign up at swimathon.org
The Dulwich Diverter Editors Mark McGinlay, Kate White | Design The Creativity Club http://thecreativity.club | Cover design Jake Tilson Photographer Lima Charlie | Sub-editor Jack Aston | Illustrators Jessica Kendrew, Peter Rhodes | Marketing and social media Mark McGinlay Contributors Katie Allen, Emma Finamore, Orlando Gili, Sarah Gordon, Jessica Gulliver, Dan Harder, Alexander McBride Wilson, Jane Merrick, Elizabeth Rust, Baruch Solomon, Luke G Williams For editorial and advertising enquiries, please email email@example.com dulwichdiverter.tumblr.com | @dulwichdiverter | dulwichdiverter | dulwichdiverter
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4 | NEWS
Happy birthday Sydenham High Former students from Sydenham High celebrated the school’s 130th birthday by recreating a photo of their geography class from the 1960s. The Westwood Hill-based school opened its doors in February 1887 with just 20 pupils and the number soon grew to 200. Today some 580 girls aged from four to 18 attend. Celebrations began on the school’s actual birthday, February 22, with a whole school assembly that told the story of the institution’s early history. A birthday cake
for all pupils and staff was cut by the head girls and junior heads of house. More than 150 alumnae and teachers past and present attended a birthday lunch, which saw pupils from 1950-2008 catch up with old classmates and exchange memories and anecdotes. One group even recreated a snap of their geography class taken more than 50 years ago. The school also held a photographic exhibition called Sydenham High: Past Meets Present, in collaboration with Sydenham Arts. It combined archival
images with those taken by current students, which will form part of a school time capsule that is set to be buried later this year. Sydenham High has a long history of community action and fundraising. Pupils will join the St Christopher’s Hospice Fun Walk in May and will continue to support their sister school in Nepal, which was built with student-raised funds after the devastating earthquake of 2015. Speaking of the 130-year milestone, acting head Karl Guest said: “We are not
celebrating our bricks and mortar but rather the community of students and staff who have made, and make, this school what it is today. “Our motto ‘nyle ye drede’ means ‘fear nothing’, and we aim as our founders did to ensure that the students in our care aim high, without fearing failure, to make the most of their future.” Pictured (left to right): Barbara Kern, Cath Spray, Paula Ford, Wendy Taylor and Susan Barnes.
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NEWS | 5
Bowled over A Dulwich-based cricket club has been chosen ahead of 2,500 others as the national showcase club for 2017’s NatWest CricketForce event. The scheme is an annual initiative that aims to bring clubs and communities closer together in a bid to rejuvenate the nation’s cricket facilities. It encourages people to give something back to their local cricket club by volunteering in renovation projects to clubhouses and grounds. The Streatham & Marlborough Cricket Club on Dulwich Common is hoping the accolade will be a major boost to the club and a chance to raise awareness of its bid for a new pavilion. It is hoping to welcome
as many local people as possible to the showcase event. The club’s Raj Patel said: “We’re trying to create a very inclusive club with tight connections to the community we serve. The current facilities require improvement for us to continue to be a viable facility and we hope NatWest CricketForce can be a springboard to bigger things.” The Streatham & Marlborough showcase takes place on March 31 and work will continue on April 1 and 2. Registration begins at 9.30am. To find out more and to get involved, please email email@example.com. Pictured: club chairman John Greenwood.
Rowing for refugees A local schoolboy and friends have raised thousands of pounds for a refugee charity with a gruelling 24-hour rowing machine challenge. Gabriel Rahman, a year 10 student at Dulwich College, teamed up with five friends from his school and Sydenham High. The students, aged 14 to 16, have raised more than £13,000 for the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. The team of four boys and two girls were set to take on the rowing challenge as The Dulwich Diverter went to press. Each
student was due to complete a four-hour shift on the machine for 24 hours on March 10-11, rowing non-stop through the night. Gabriel heard about Kakuma – which is the world’s second largest refugee camp and home to almost 200,000 people – from a project that came to Dulwich College through My Start’s Living Nowhere exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. My Start is a creative arts charity that gives children in refugee camps a chance to communicate their experiences through art, photography and film. Their work is
then exhibited in British schools, creating a unique exchange. Gabriel said: “My Start puts a spotlight on the stories and lives of young people like me, who because of conflict and other circumstances beyond their control are living in Kakuma and similar places. “The £13,000 we’ve raised for My Start will help this amazing – but still very small – charity reach as many people in both the UK and Kakuma as they can with their creative projects. The money will help fund and ensure their sustainability.”
Gabriel described the cash raised as a “monumental” sum and said pledges have come from a wide range of people, including school friends, parents, students from other schools and even complete strangers. He added: “All six of us and everyone who the money will help are eternally grateful and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has donated from the bottom of our hearts.” Read more about the challenge and donate at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/24hourergo
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6 | LOCAL HERO
Remembering Lawrence LAWRENCE WHITE’S FAMILY AND FRIENDS SHARE THEIR MEMORIES OF THE MUCH-LOVED LOCAL MAN, WHO PASSED AWAY IN JANUARY Lawrence White, owner of perfumery and lifestyle shop Roullier White on Lordship Lane, was one of those people you felt lucky to know. A familiar face and friend to many in the area, he was loved for his infectious enthusiasm, kindness, humour and generosity. True to form he championed this paper and our Peckham title from day one, and was the only person to advertise in every single issue. Bumping into Lawrence was always great fun. We have fond memories of driving down Lordship Lane distributing our latest edition and seeing him come racing out of the shop, giving us a huge wave and a smile. He put on a wonderful party at Roullier White for the launch of The Dulwich Diverter, going all out to make it a truly magical evening despite our tight budget, and insisting on spending his own money to add some extra special touches. Michael Donovan, Lawrence’s husband, said: “Lawrence really was a ‘local boy’ – his family have lived in the area for well over 200 years – and he was always extremely proud of his south London roots. “Many local residents will know Lawrence from his store, Roullier White; however he has worked on some amazing projects that I know brought him great happiness and satisfaction, including the RAted collection at the Royal Academy of Arts and his most recent triumph, a range for the gift shop located literally at the end of the earth, the Penguin Post Office in Port Lockroy, Antarctica – which is now on the shelves should you be passing!
“Roullier White will be 18 years old this year and Lawrence was one of the first independent retailers to breathe new life into Lordship Lane after years of neglect. The store is very much a testament to his imagination and good taste and combines contemporary design with his love of heritage and craftsmanship. “His incredible eye, honed as a buyer for top London stores and museums, really was second to none and he could spot talent easily, giving many young creatives their very first order. He developed his own ‘Mrs White’s’ collection of natural cleaning and beauty
products because he loathed unnecessary chemicals in the environment and believed that natural ingredients were far more efficacious. He even found time to curate one of the most respected independent perfumeries in the country. “Lawrence was a passionate buyer and then retailer, entrepreneur and brand creator, published writer, designer and businessman. He was selfless with his time, support and advice for the local community and Roullier White sponsored local plays, charities, schools and publications. “He fought hard for what he believed in – fairness in business, British goods and services, local retail, great design and exemplary customer service, but always with humour and charm. He set up the local business association and campaigned to protect Lordship Lane and its unique collection of independent retailers. “Judging by the many cards and letters I have received, his booming laugh and incredible kindness will be much missed in the streets and stores around the area. He was, as many have been thoughtful enough to mention, a gentleman. “It is my intention to continue his legacy, including his many plans for Roullier White. Lawrence truly loved his store and this community and it will be an honour to fulfil his wishes. I hope that our friends and neighbours will continue to support his vision with the same appreciation and enthusiasm as they always have and help his name to live on, as it truly deserves.” Terry Ronald said: “Lawrence and I became friends when we were in our early 20s but I’d known him since I was six; we both grew up in East Dulwich and attended St John’s and St Clement’s primary school, which was then on Archdale Road. “Over the past 30-odd years,
Lawrence and his husband Michael have been my closest friends – my family. It’s impossible to count the fabulous holidays, the dinners, the parties, the laughs, tears and major life events we’ve shared – his friendship has been everything to me. He held me up through tough times and helped support my family when I was very sick some years back. And of course we laughed… lots! “Lolly’s wonderfully bizarre sense of humour was razor sharp, his manners impeccable and I can think of no kinder, more considerate person. He cared about people and he cared about what was happening in the world around him. “Lawrence was so much part of our community; it’s hard for me to walk down Lordship Lane without thinking about him, and I don’t think that will ever change. It’s said of many people, but Lawrence really was a special man.” Local caterer Suzanne James said: “It’s not often that a person like Lawrence comes into your life. Lawrence was one of the kindest, most time generous, helpful and supportive people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. “Weekly we would bump into each other on his walk to work and we would always spend time having a little catch-up with life. I would always leave smiling, thinking what a lovely man Lawrence was.” Tim Oakley from House of Tippler said: “Lawrence was the most perfect neighbour I could have had when we moved into Lordship Lane. From day one he couldn’t have been more helpful and generous to us. “Lawrence never stopped promoting the local area, supporting the independent businesses and bringing like-minded locals together. He was always coming up with new ideas and fun projects. “One that sticks out in my mind is when we set up a cocktail bar on top of the seven-foot-high wall between our back gardens, serving cocktails to the garden party he was throwing in the shop garden.” Tim Sheehan, owner of Franklins, said: “When people talk about the community, Lawrence was a driving force. He lived in East Dulwich and was prepared to get his hands dirty to improve it. He always made you feel that you were also part of it and connected to it. “He would promote any business, not just his own; he would include us in any articles that he had written, he would always encourage us and was always keen on whatever new things we were all doing. “I’ll miss that laugh. Lawrence would even laugh when we had all had a bad week trading. Forever optimistic, that one.”
Photo by James Wicks
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DULWICH FOCUS | 9
People power A DULWICH TIMEBANK ENCOURAGES LOCALS TO SWAP SKILLS WITH EACH OTHER, FROM LEARNING A LANGUAGE TO GARDENING. WE FIND OUT MORE BY KATIE ALLEN
It’s accepted wisdom that volunteering is a good thing – not only for the organisation or charity, but for the person giving up their time, whether they find friendships, new skills or just a warm and fuzzy feeling. One Dulwich-based charity called Paxton Green Time Bank (PGTB) has taken that idea and run with it. Volunteers give an hour of their time and expertise in anything from language skills to painting a kitchen, and receive an hour back in whatever they need or want to learn. Unlike a traditional bank, instead of withdrawing and depositing piles of cash, it is help and skills that are of value. One hour equals one time credit, and everyone’s time is valued equally. PGTB is based on the Kingswood Estate and began in 2008 with some funding from the NHS. It started as part of the health centre, when two GPs realised that many of their patients were visiting as much for the social interaction as for medicine. They were also aware of many other local people who might benefit from the scheme, such as newcomers to the area who felt socially isolated, or retired folk with skills to share and time on their hands. PGTB trustee Joseph Boateng has lived on the estate for 34 years. He joined KETRA (Kingswood Estate
Tenants and Residents’ Association) when he was 18 and has been involved in the timebank since the beginning. A passionate believer in empowering communities by bringing people together, the new dad says: “Before I was feeling like a father of the estate, because I’ve been doing a lot of projects for the community. “There’s about 22 different organisations on the estate and they weren’t communicating. I set up the Kingswood Network so everyone could introduce themselves and swap numbers and email addresses. “The timebank is about helping each other, building confidence and growing friendships. People walk past each other on the street and they don’t even smile, and before the timebank there were loads of neighbours who didn’t know each other. “The timebank gives people a chance to share with others and try new things. It’s also about making life easier for everyone. For example I could do my next door neighbour’s garden and they could babysit.” PGTB is open to anyone who lives or works in Southwark and Lambeth. A trained “broker” works out what new members’ skills are but also what they need, from learning English to help with an unruly garden. A database of members helps match people up. “Sometimes it takes a while to get people to think in an asset-based way,”
says PGTB development manager Alison Paule. “They say, ‘I can’t do anything, I haven’t got any skills.’ However, once they do take the leap, the impact can be astonishing.” Alison tells the story of one new member, an elderly lady, who came along to a drop-in session held at the GP surgery. She had cooking and gardening skills to offer, and in return hoped to have her living room painted. At the same session, a young man offered to paint her room for her. She was nervous about allowing a stranger into her home, but a PGTB broker offered to accompany him and a neighbour said they would pop in too. In the end, the member cooked for the young man and the neighbour, and another member helped her in the garden in return for learning how to plant vegetables. Now the lady gets out of the house more, knows her neighbours better and feels valued as a member of the scheme. Timebanking is “different to normal, traditional volunteering”, says Alison. “It’s not that regular, it can be a one-off, although most people stay and we have core members. “Timebanking engages people who don’t normally volunteer. I think it’s the reciprocal nature of it and also the equality thing – it’s an hour of everybody’s time, regardless of where they come from or what skills or background they have.”
PICTURED ABOVE: TIMEBANK TRUSTEE JOSEPH BOATENG
IT’S ABOUT HELPING OTHERS AND MAKING FRIENDS
This friendliness and positivity is important at a time when the news often seems to focus on the disintegration of society. “It’s not a direct impact, but in a climate of cuts and Brexit, anxiety levels generally are higher,” says Alison. “People feel what’s going on in wider society, but volunteering [with the timebank] creates a safe space – you’re not worrying about the wider world. Instead it allows you to focus on what you can do.” PGTB, now an independent charity, relies on some funding from Southwark Council and grant-giving bodies, as well as fundraising for particular projects. Sometimes they link up with other organisations on a co-production principle. The team have big dreams. “We want to continue growing, creating more hubs and working with like-minded organisations and people,” Alison says. They hope to run more memberled activities too, like the peace garden in Crystal Palace Park known as the Anerley Community Heritage Education Garden, which was started by a PGTB member. There are now several hundred members on the books, and they are always looking for more people to get involved. “The other good thing about timebanking is that you don’t have to pay a penny,” says Joseph. “It’s not about money, it’s about love.”
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MUSIC | 11
Knowing the score SOUTH LONDON MUSIC IS A LOCAL GEM THAT SPECIALISES IN SHEET MUSIC FROM STRAVINSKY TO SANTANA. WE MEET OWNER RUPERT PERKINS BY ELIZABETH RUST
South London Music is a shop many East Dulwich commuters pass each day as they hurriedly make their way up Grove Vale to the train station. Quite a few will never set foot through its doors. That is unless their child is in need of the latest classical music exam book. Owner Rupert Perkins understands this sentiment all too well. “A sheet music shop is different from a bookshop,” he says. “Most people read books, but how many people regularly read music?” Nonetheless Rupert stocks thousands of scores in the 500 square foot space, for a wide variety of instruments. There’s music for piano, violin, guitar, trumpet and ukulele to name but a few, with pieces ranging from the well-known to the obscure. All the classics by Beethoven, Mozart and Tchaikovsky are available, along with Irish session music, Gaelic
miniatures, klezmer music and opera. There’s even a section dedicated to ars antiqua – the medieval music of Europe dating from 1170 to 1310. The shop also sells popular music by singers from Abba to Adele, and scores from films including Moonlight and La La Land. “Teachers like those because it gets their students interested in music,” Rupert says. To an outsider the shop may not seem very organised, but within a second Rupert can locate any piece of music the customer is looking for. “I carry it all,” he says, pointing out that he sells four different versions of the choral score of Handel’s Messiah alone. Not an inch of the shop goes unused, and what isn’t occupied by sheet music is given over to an array of instruments and student essentials, including CDs, metronomes and music stands. There’s also a selection of music-themed novelty gifts. I’m meeting Rupert on a Tuesday
afternoon, just before the school rush at 3.30pm. I spoke with him earlier that morning, and he’s keen to meet straightaway, even if that means I bring my 14-month-old son along with me. “My children used to run around the shop all the time,” he says, telling me about Charlotte, 11 and twins James and Georgina, who are nine. This is the first time I’ve been into South London Music. As a lapsed violinist, I haven’t read music in years, but Rupert warmly welcomes me with a big smile. A customer comes in behind me, and while Rupert scurries around the shop finding what he’s after, I browse the violin titles and find my old audition piece. I can’t believe he has it but he tells me it’s “very popular”. Rupert started South London Music in 2004 from his home. He opened his first shop in 2006 next to what is now Blackbird Bakery on Grove Vale, before moving to his current location across
PICTURED ABOVE: THE SOUTH LONDON MUSIC TEAM Photo by Lima Charlie
WE WORK WITH 200 SUPPLIERS ALL OVER EUROPE
the street in 2011. A local boy, he went to Dulwich Prep before gaining a scholarship in music to Tonbridge School in Kent. “I could have attended a London school, but at that time I just wanted out,” he laughs. “I love Dulwich, but it was good to get away.” After reading music at the University of Reading, he completed a PGCE at Oxford Brookes University and returned to Dulwich as a freelance musician playing the flute and organ and conducting a choir before working at Dulwich Music Shop on Upland Road. A quintessential Englishman, Rupert wears tweed most days. He cooks a roast on Sundays, and enjoys having a pint at the pub. Today’s suit is light brown with a dark brown plaid. He has a purple handkerchief tucked in the jacket pocket and a green tie. “I like tradition,” he says. “I like looking smart. When I was at university, I didn’t have much money,
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12 | MUSIC
but I had a tweed jacket from school and it just progressed from there. “I like people. Instead of spending my days stuffing envelopes with sheet music from online orders, I like being with people and running the shop. This is more about having relationships and helping them choose the right music and instruments for their children.” The internet has been a mixed blessing for the shop. “We embrace the internet,” says Rupert. “We have a website and we use social media. Without it some of our customers wouldn’t know we are here. You can’t rely on the Yellow Pages.” But there’s no denying that the rise of online shopping has undercut the sheet music trade, especially in cities like London where rent is eyewateringly high. Rupert says “a lot” of music shops have gone in the past 10 years, including Frank Music, the last classical sheet music shop in New York City, which closed in 2015 after almost eight decades in business. “I believe that sheet music brings me business,” he says. “If you have a good selection of sheet music, people will also come in for repairs and to buy instruments. But you can’t survive on sheet music alone, and we don’t get as much volume as we used to.” His wife, Clare, explains that some people will buy 80 per cent of their music online, but when they have a problem they come to Rupert. She
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works three days a week as a material scientist, and helps in the shop on Fridays. The internet undercuts the “bread and butter, the easy bits”, she says. “We have some lovely customers though, who really appreciate our work, so it’s not all doom and gloom. We work hard to meet the needs of the local state and foundation schools.” Rupert explains that there’s a lot of chasing up to win these contracts, then at other times they just fall into your lap, like the one he got from a Westminster school after meeting someone for a chance coffee. Rob Parton uses South London Music almost exclusively for his school’s music programme. He runs the East Dulwich Academy of Music and Performing Arts programme at Goose Green primary school. “The shop is a great resource for the area”, he says of South London Music. “All our students use it for their books, and we send them there to be sized up for violins too.” No doubt one of those students is a young girl who comes in with her mother the day I meet Rupert. She hands her bag of chips with cheese to her mother as she rummages through her backpack looking for the piece of paper with a book’s name on it. When she finds it, she hands it to Rupert, who says, “Ah, yes,” and hurries off to the relevant bookshelf to retrieve it. There seem to be just a couple of
copies left, and I can tell he’s making a mental note to order more. “We work with 200 suppliers all over Europe,” he tells me. “It’s taken me 10 years to build up some of the relationships. If someone comes to me with an obscure piece of music, I know exactly who to ring to get it. “I’ve never worked in a bookshop, but I imagine they work with a handful of wholesalers, whereas this is an oldschool business where you have to ring up a supplier and place an order.” And that’s where the internet can’t compete with Rupert. He knows “off the top of his head” who supplies what, and has a good idea about when the next exam book will be published. He can tell a student whether they’ll have 12 months to study for an exam, or can advise them that if they wait until the summer, when the next book is out, they’ll have two years to study for the next one. The music retail trade isn’t one that he relies on solely to support his family. On Thursdays he leads the choir at the Guild Church of St Margaret Pattens in the City. He’s also music director at St Stephen’s church on College Road in Dulwich, where he conducts and plays the organ on Sundays and organises music for weddings, christenings and funerals when required. Two members of staff help Rupert in the shop during the week: Nana Achiamah-Ampomah and Jake
PICTURED ABOVE: RUPERT PERKINS AND HIS MUCH-LOVED SHOP Photos by Lima Charlie
SELLING SHEET MUSIC IS AN OLDSCHOOL BUSINESS
Williams. Nana has a master’s in electrical engineering and Jake is a graduate in music. “In engineering you don’t always get to interact with people,” Nana says. “Working in the shop has taught me that I’m much more of a people person than I originally thought.” There are also two sixth formers working with him on a Saturday and numerous work experience students throughout the year, as well as the occasional musician looking to earn some extra cash. As for Rupert, he still works seven days a week. He took a week off recently to spend half term with his family, but even then he was making phone calls to suppliers. As my little boy runs around the shop rattling small percussion instruments and handing out “free” pencils to customers, Rupert tells me more about his own family. He shows me pictures of his three children. “While it’s entirely up to them in the end, I’d love one to go into medicine. It would be nice for one to take over the shop and go into business,” he says, before shrugging. “Well, I hope they’ll have a business here to run.” Then the shop bell rings and another customer comes in – this time a father with his daughter, who are here to collect a recently repaired violin. Rupert runs to the back of the shop to retrieve it, barely having a chance to finish his thought.
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14 | ART
The man with a can URBAN ARTIST THE ARTFUL DODGER TALKS POWER, POLITICS AND COMBINING STREET ART WITH SOCIAL COMMENTARY BY EMMA FINAMORE
“It’s almost like being a superhero. You have one identity by day, and a secret identity at night. You’re doing this painting, but no one knows it’s you.” Walking around south-east London, you’re sure to recognise his name and his work on our streets, but you might not know the man behind the Artful Dodger moniker: he does a good job of keeping his identity hidden. Going by the name “A Dee”, the East Dulwich-based aerosol artist was always interested in calligraphy and art as a child. “I was a geek at school,” he says. “I grew up looking at the work of the old masters, thinking that’s something I would like to do. “When I hit my teens I heard about what was going on in New York, on the trains [NYC’s subways were a magnet for graffiti artists in the 1980s] so I went out and just started writing my name. I used the calligraphy style because it stood out.”
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A Dee would tag and paint everywhere, with his inspiration ranging from ancient manuscripts to the early 80s New York scene. “Getting your name in the most innovative, surprising place is like a sport, but it’s not just mindless vandalism,” he says. “It’s like a military operation. You need to get in there, do your painting, and get out. Minimum fuss.” He makes a clear distinction between aerosol writers – those producing work and tags that most people would call graffiti – and street artists. “Writers are doing it for themselves and for other writers,” he says. “They don’t care about what the public thinks, whether it’s art or vandalism – it’s not their concern. Most street artists want to be recognised as ‘artists’ and they paint for the public.” A Dee defines himself as having “the heart of an aerosol writer” but as an urban artist with a penchant for social commentary, using art to spread a message. It was early on, in the
mid-80s, when he realised the power of work that is created in a public space. “I began to see what we did as having the potential to be so much more,” he explains. “It was art that was by young people, for young people. It’s one of the most powerful platforms. “It’s like being a politician for the young. Talking about the stuff people care about, expressing things others don’t have the ability to express, because we had the vehicle by which to do it.” The urban landscape of south-east London lends itself pretty well to this end, and A Dee used to do a lot of work on the North Peckham Estate. “It had these garages in between floors, with big white walls,” he remembers. “The residents – when they saw we were just there to paint and weren’t touching the cars – were happy for us to be there, they thought we were doing really good work.” You can see this socially aware approach running through A Dee’s work. A recent piece in Brixton calls for
PICTURED ABOVE: THE ARTFUL DODGER AT WORK IN EAST DULWICH Photo by Lima Charlie
“Justice pour Théo”, in support of the victim of police brutality in France. A work on Peckham Road asks, “Where have you gone, Captain America?” in a public commentary on the political climate in the USA and the world. Down by Peckhamplex, another piece casts prime minister Theresa May as a sinister Star Wars baddie. The image of Walter Tull – black footballing pioneer and the Britsh Army’s first black officer – pops up in Brixton, and Muhammad Ali throws a punch from a wall in Camberwell. A Dee also created a striking tribute to Carrie Fisher, with his image of Princess Leia – “The Rebel’s Princess” – on the side of a former Peckham pub. Posting a photo of the work on Instagram, he wrote: “I wanted my last painting of 2016 to be a memorable one, especially with regard to subject matter. So, what better way to see out the year than by creating a painting that’s dedicated to someone I’ve admired and been a fan of since the first Star Wars movie back in 1977?
ART | 15
“Thanks to all the passersby who spoke to me and showed their appreciation while I painted. It was encouraging to say the least. May the Force be with us all!” The idea that street art is a positive thing for society is something A Dee has been pushing his whole career. In 1994 he made Get the Message – a feature-length documentary about the aerosol art world. “I wanted to dispel the myths about the whole culture,” he says. “In terms of who did it, why they did it, as well as taking viewpoints from people like the police and the authorities, councils, the public. It looked at companies who had used it to promote their products, and at the global impact that it had on young people and youth culture.”
Get the Message was the first of its kind, he says. While there had always been graffiti videos showing writers in action and their work in situ, this was the primary documentation of the culture and its wider context, discussing everything from public misconceptions about writers to gender inequality in the aerosol world. There’s an almost hyperactive rate of creativity when you look at A Dee’s career. He’s designed posters, album sleeves and logos for artists – like Bomb The Bass’s 1988 single, Beat Dis – and is planning to release a graphic novel. He’s written educational children’s stories (for which he’s trying to find a publisher) and has been giving aerosol workshops around London since the mid-80s. “It’s all about
giving back to the community,” he says. “I have always loved art but didn’t feel welcome in mainstream art institutions. Nothing was ever said but it always felt like there was a ‘Why are you here?’ attitude. “I thought, ‘If I feel like this then others must feel it too’ – not just from an ethnicity perspective but, for example, people with inner city backgrounds. It was a way of giving them something they could relate to.” Some of the kids he’s taught have gone on to art school and careers in design – it’s made a real impact on their lives. A Dee also creates mixedmedia works on canvas and does commissions, but his heart is on the streets. “It’s the thrill of it,” he says, “and the possibility of being caught.” He says he’s never been challenged when working, and now does most of his painting in broad daylight. He created the Princess Leia piece in Peckham in the middle of the day, wearing a hi-vis jacket. He’s well placed to do street art in south-east London – he knows the area like the back of his hand, having grown up just off Lordship Lane. He’s been in Dulwich since the 1970s, and it’s changed a lot in that time. “As a kid in the 80s I remember going into a local pub, and in the back there was bare-knuckle fighting,” he says. “That kind of tells you the clientele that used to be in East Dulwich, it was pretty much working class. There were pubs you couldn’t really go into if you didn’t know people.”
MOST GREAT ART COMES OUT OF TURBULENT TIMES
He’s concerned about what he calls the “Paris-ification” of London: a slow, steady pushing out of working class communities to the edges of the city, creating ghettos on the outskirts and excluding residents from the wealthy, elite centre. “People 15 or 20 years ago could live in social housing in the centre of London, or in boroughs around the centre,” he says. “But now they can’t afford to. When Boris was mayor and he talked about making London a business hub, I don’t think people realised how extensive that plan was. I think London will always have a cool edge, but it will be controlled.” He cites Shoreditch as an example of this, where corporations have bought up wall space in public places: they control the art that’s created and they own it once it’s up, but it masquerades as something that’s happened organically. He says he refuses to paint there for this reason. But it’s these concerns – from gentrification to Brexit to the rise of Trump – that motivate him to create. “If you look at all great art movements, most of them come out of turbulent times,” he says. “I think it’s selfish to just sit back and say, ‘There’s nothing we can do about it’ – there’s always something you can do.” And you can bet A Dee will keep doing it. See A Dee’s work in a group exhibition at the Knight Webb Gallery in Brixton in June.
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16 | DULWICH IN PICTURES
Keeping the faith PHOTOS BY ALEXANDER MCBRIDE WILSON
Dulwich is dotted with churches. From the Copleston Centre and the Latter Rain Outpouring Revival Church on the SE22 borders to St John the Evangelist on East Dulwich Road and St Faith’s on Red Post Hill (all pictured here) they play a vital role in the communities they serve. The Reverend Gill O’Neill joined St John’s seven months ago. Before that she was curate at All Saints in West Dulwich, and prior to that she taught at a secondary school in Elephant and Castle. St John’s is part of the Church of England and the worship is at the Anglo-Catholic end of the spectrum. “We have a mass, a eucharist every Sunday at 8am and 10am,” says Gill. “We sing hymns and have a robed choir. We try to have a feeling of reverence and be a sacred space.” The church also runs the Goose Green Centre next door. “That’s a really well-used community facility – there are lots of groups who use it, from Pilates to Japanese classes to children’s groups. There’s an old folks’ lunch on Thursdays too.” Ensuring the church is more accessible for local people is a big priority, says Gill. “We’re looking at how we can make it more open for people who want to come in either just to be quiet, or to tackle issues like isolation and so on in the area.” Children are a valued part of the church and are welcome on Sundays. St John’s provides various activities for children and young people, including an Easter egg hunt on Easter Day. The church is also involved in the
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inaugural Spring Waking event in East Dulwich, which will celebrate new beginnings as winter becomes spring. It will feature a community procession led by a giant illuminated butterfly and moth, followed by a light-filled finale. Gill has worked in Dulwich for almost five years now and knows the area well. “I love that Dulwich is so diverse and that you’ve got people from all over the world here,” she says. “It’s very vibrant and it’s a really creative place. “There’s also real need. I think the housing issue is really tricky for people in Dulwich – the cost of housing is forcing people to have to consider leaving the area. That’s one of the main concerns.” Recently the church worked with a charity called Robes to host a winter night shelter for 20 homeless guests. The project sees 22 churches across Southwark and Lambeth open their doors from November to April to provide temporary accommodation for people in need. Churches play an important role in their communities, Gill believes. “The church provides a sense of connection and rootedness. It offers a sense of belonging and perhaps a sense of stability in uncertain times, which I’d say we are definitely experiencing at the moment.” Make your own butterfly or moth for Spring Waking at the St John’s art workshop on March 18, 11.30am-2.30pm, at 62 East Dulwich Road. Bring it along to the parade that evening, which starts outside the East Dulwich Community Centre on Darrell Road at 6.15pm.
DULWICH IN PICTURES | 17
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18 | DULWICH IN PICTURES
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20 | SPORT
Kings of the pitch WE MEET THE DULWICH RUGBY CLUB THAT’S ONE OF THE OLDEST IN THE COUNTRY AT THEIR TURNEY ROAD TRAINING GROUND BY LUKE G WILLIAMS
It’s a dark and rainy Tuesday night when I turn up at a training session for King’s College Hospital Rugby Football Club to meet first XV captain Jack McAvoy and club captain Iain Metters. Despite the inclement weather and the ensuing chaos on local railway lines, which has left some players stranded or running late, there’s no dampening the enthusiasm of those in attendance as they fling themselves into a lightning game of touch rugby and a series of energetic drills and exercises. Spirits are high and no wonder – for King’s are enjoying one of the greatest periods in their long and distinguished history. At the time of writing, the club’s first XV are unbeaten during 2017 and sit snugly in fourth place in Kent League 1. Furthermore, participation levels are at an all-time high, with the club currently maintaining a second XV, a veterans’ side, seven junior sides catering for children aged between six and 12 and a ladies’ XV.
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“There have been tough times in the past but at the minute we are going through a good spell,” says Jack, a hooker turned prop who has played for the club since he was 14 and has been first XV captain since 2013. “We’re doing well in the league and the cup. Everything’s really positive. “Last season was a mixed bag for the first XV, to be honest. We finished just below mid-table, so at our AGM we made a conscious plan of where we wanted to be this season and we all agreed that we would target a top-four place. “All being well we should hit that target, which would be good progression as we look to push on in the future and get promotion to the London leagues.” Now based in the heart of Dulwich Village at Turney Road sports ground, King’s has been in existence since 1869, making it one of the oldest rugby clubs in the country. Previously the preserve of medical students and hospital staff, since 1995 it has been an open club. The “all are welcome” ethos is key to the club’s current flourishing status, as
Jack explains. “Dulwich is a hotbed of rugby which helps us, but there are a lot of clubs around, so competition for players is fierce. That’s why we define ourselves as a real open and friendly club. “We try to make sure we keep the guys who come down and try out for us. It’s fair to say we are really welcoming of anyone who wants to play rugby. We welcome players who play to a good standard but we also welcome beginners. “Dulwich has a lot of young professionals who play rugby – but I’m not a young professional and I’ve done just fine. It’s a real fun place to be.” The story of how Jack became involved with the club proves his point. “My dad was a groundsman [at the club’s previous base] so I started training with the boys when I was 14,” he says. “When I started playing I’d never picked up a rugby ball before in my life – I had never watched rugby or even contemplated playing it. Sixteen years later I’m still here, I’m still enjoying it and I’m still looking forward to playing
PICTURED ABOVE: KING’S COLLEGE HOSPITAL RFC Photos by Orlando Gili
every Saturday. We really do mean it when we say no previous experience is necessary. If you come down, we’re more than happy to teach you whatever you need to know. “We have guys now playing in our first team who three years ago had never picked up a rugby ball. It’s a great club to play for, there’s a real diverse bunch of lads here.” The club’s long history and pool of former players around the world has proved critical in ensuring financial survival. “The sense of history is huge,” Jack admits. “The majority of our funding is through subscriptions by members, so our recent move to Turney Road was mostly funded by donations from old players. “It shows how important the club is to people. We have former players living out in New Zealand, Australia and America who still pay their monthly subs, even though they’ll probably never play for us again. “The club’s like a big family really – we’ve all got each other’s backs on the pitch and if someone new comes down
SPORT | 21 we make sure we buy them a drink and make them feel welcome. “That really does help in terms of keeping players involved in the club and ensuring people turn up to our events. We’ve had people who now live abroad in places like South Africa coming back for our dinners or Burns Night events.” Club captain Iain Metters concurs that the social fabric of King’s is part of what defines and differentiates the club. “A long time ago I moved to London and was a bit bored just hanging around with work mates,” he tells me when I ask him how his association with King’s began. “You walk into a rugby club and you’ve suddenly got 30 or 40 mates. You don’t necessarily get on with them all – but on a Saturday or a Tuesday night at training they’re the guys you hang around with. “Suddenly, if you’ve just moved to a big city, you’ve got a circle of mates that you might not have had otherwise. That’s what’s special about the club – that feeling of camaraderie, common interests and common goals.” Both men believe the future for King’s is bright, and speak proudly of the club’s flourishing youth sessions, which take place on Sundays. “It’s really taken off,” Jack says. “Whenever I see the kids playing, they’re so happy, they love it. They don’t want to stop or sit down for a minute and they don’t want to go home at the end. That’s great to see. Hopefully they’ll be playing for the
King’s first team in the future.” “Youth rugby is really big for us now,” agrees Iain. “The youth section is fairly new – it’s our third season I think – and we’ve been progressing with bigger numbers year on year. “We’re regularly getting 40 or 50 kids down on a Sunday morning. We’re growing those age groups and as those children get older we’ll be running more teams that can hopefully feed into the first XV. “Rugby is a great sport for kids. It gets them out in the fresh air and talking to people face to face. It helps develop their leadership, communication and teamwork skills as well. When they get older and go to university or into the world
of work, rugby gives them valuable skills that they can transfer into those environments.” Also high on the club’s agenda is continuing to develop the King’s women’s XV, which was established in 2012. “Getting the women’s section up and running has had its challenges,” Iain admits. “I’d definitely encourage more women to come along and give it a go. After all, you burn as many calories in a game of touch rugby as you would in a Zumba class.” Another exciting event on the horizon for King’s is the club’s 150th anniversary. Plans for how to mark this remarkable occasion are advancing steadily.
THERE’S A REAL DIVERSE BUNCH OF LADS HERE
“For our 140th anniversary we went to South Africa to follow the British Lions tour, so we’re looking at something similar for our 150th,” Iain reveals. “A number of destinations have been mooted – Argentina and Sri Lanka, for example – so we will see. “When we were in South Africa we took rugby to one of the townships and did a sports day for local kids, which was fantastic. It was great to get involved with the local community so we’re looking to do something like that on our 150th tour. “We’ll also have a big dinner and we’re looking at historic rugby venues to host that – maybe even Twickenham. Of course, we will invite a lot of our ex-players and alumni – the Kingsmen of old.” Such is the enthusiasm of Jack and Iain that it’s only after an hour in their animated and entertaining company that I realise I am drenched from the ceaseless rain, so I decide to take my leave. Before I depart, though, Iain describes one of the further joys of playing for King’s, namely the location. “Dulwich is a beautiful part of London,” he says. “You go and play at Turney Road on a Saturday afternoon and you wouldn’t know you’re in the middle of London. “When you’re on those 30-acre playing fields, you can’t hear the traffic, you can’t smell the traffic and you’re not squeezed in among high-density housing. There’s a sense of freedom on that pitch.”
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22 | CARTOONS
Surreal sketches DULWICH RESIDENT PETER DUGGAN COMBINES COMEDY WITH CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY ART IN HIS AMUSING CARTOON STRIPS BY EMMA FINAMORE
It’s not often that a game between friends turns into an enviable creative career, but for Peter Duggan that’s exactly what happened. The Australia-born Dulwich resident drew weekly cartoon strips for the Guardian from 2011 to 2014, which were later published as a book both here and in France. But it all began as a bit of fun with a mate. Peter and his friend Al decided to have a go at penning funnies about the art world – a topic Peter knows a lot about – for a bit of a laugh. Al soon lost interest but before long Peter had created a small collection of cartoon strips, starting with a joke about Jackson Pollock and abstract expressionism. As his infant daughter had just been offered a place at a nursery school, and the family needed some cash to fund it, he decided to find out whether the press would be interested in buying them for publication. At first he sent them out to various art magazines, but when he got nothing back he decided to try his hand with the national newspapers instead. “After I’d sent them off I read somewhere that if you’re trying to get into cartooning, don’t bother with the broadsheets – try the local papers first,” he remembers. “I thought, ‘What a dingbat I’ve been!’” Peter’s cartoons clearly struck a chord though, because the Guardian’s online team called him back asking for more cartoons for their website and offered him a weekly strip on the culture pages. What followed was almost four years of art-based comedy, with Peter using his fine art background to mimic famous styles and pieces, as well as his surreal sense of humour to turn them into jokes. One of his most popular strips (pictured opposite) has been shared more than 200,000 times online. It depicts a figure standing louche and relaxed in a classical Greek pose at a drinks party, surrounded by stiff ancient Egyptian figures staring at him in awe and bemusement. It cleverly shows the stark contrast between art that was being created in different parts of the ancient world, while reimagining it in a very modern context. “It’s one of those rare cartoons that is perfectly educational but perfectly funny,” Peter says. He believes the perfect strips are often the simplest, and the figures used to comic effect in his cartoons include Jesus and God, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, Lucian Freud and Gustav Klimt. Damien Hirst, Silvio Berlusconi and Barbara Windsor also make an appearance, demonstrating the vast
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range of references Peter draws on, from the ancient to the modern. A quick glance at his CV explains how he is able to create such seemingly niche cartoons. He grew up in Australia and holds a BA and an MA in fine art from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and worked at the Art Gallery of New South Wales for seven years. After moving to the UK with his now wife – they met while she was working in Australia and caught the same bus every day for six months before he plucked up the courage to ask her out – Peter worked in commercial London galleries. He’s also made short comedy films, exhibited in group and solo shows and painted numerous portrait commissions, and in 2015 Virgin published a collection of his cartoons called Peter Duggan’s Artoons. Fans of the volume include some of its stars: Damien Hirst has bought six copies of the book, and British pop artist Allen Jones has also picked up a few. “Those two really enjoy it,” Peter says. “A couple of others [the artists featured] might be miffed, like Jeff Koons. He’s perfect fodder though, because he does his banal stuff but also went through a full-on pornographic phase. So you can mix the ‘nicey nicey’ with the sexual deviance, which is quite funny.” Although Peter only wants to poke gentle fun at people, he did have some cartoons refused by the Guardian while he was drawing for them. “There was one Jesus strip that got sent back,” he recalls. “Western art is so dominated, historically, with religion and Christianity that it was only a matter of time before I did a crucifixion one, but I think my take on it went a bit far for them. “There was another with Damien Hirst and Yayoi Kusama – a Japanese artist – of them getting it on, and they were getting it on a bit too much for the Guardian. Only in my cartoon though, not in real life!” As well as keeping up his work in galleries, Peter keeps his finger on the art world pulse by seeing as many exhibitions as possible – and London is just the place to do it. “London is insane, it’s just fantastic,” he says. “Sydney’s great but you feel like you’re at the centre of the cultural universe here, there are so many awe-inspiring shows on all the time. There’s about five going on at any given moment. Any one of those would be a big sell-out blockbuster in Sydney.” Peter also has a real soft spot for his local cultural institution – the Dulwich Picture Gallery. “They do these awesome shows that would perhaps be too small for some of the bigger institutions,” he says.
“They had [graphic artist] MC Escher on a while back, and they had a Norman Rockwell exhibition as well. He used to do covers for the Saturday Evening Post. It’s a brilliant gallery and it’s just around the corner from me, which is fantastic.” Next, Peter says he wants to try his hand at something “less niche”, like greeting cards. “I’ve been thinking a lot about how humour and information relate, and I’ve learnt a few things, so we’ll see how that goes,” he says.
PICTURED ABOVE: PETER DUGGAN Photo by Lima Charlie
He’s also thinking about creating a graphic novel – an art form he’s become a big fan of – as strips require (by their nature) a brevity that limits what a cartoonist can do with the characters. At the moment his plan for the book is to follow the life of Jesus, something that he sees as having huge comic potential. “If you grow up thinking you are half a god, what does that do to you?” he asks. Whatever answer he comes up with, it’s sure to be a comical one.
CARTOONS | 23
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24 | HISTORY
Common people THE STORY OF PECKHAM RYE PARK AND COMMON IS A RICH MIX OF LEGEND, FOLKLORE AND REAL-LIFE EVENTS. WE LOOK AT ITS COLOURFUL HISTORY BY BARUCH SOLOMON
“Who’ll buy our rye? Who’ll buy? Who’ll buy?” The pretty girls of Peckham cry. “The ears are full as they can hold And heavy as a purse of gold. Sweeter corn you will not find For the London mills to grind. Come buy, come buy, Our Peckham rye!” This almost forgotten nursery rhyme was brought to the attention of the Peckham Society by Linda G Wood in 2001. While the poem refers to rye as in the grain, it is the Old English word “rye” – meaning watercourse – from which our local park and common derive their name. Rye almost certainly refers to the River Peck, which still flows through the park today. The expansive and much-loved green space, which is bordered by East Dulwich, Nunhead and Peckham, is steeped in history and folklore. Legend has it that Boudicca, the Iceni warrior queen, fought her final battle on the common, but this is highly unlikely. In fact, after destroying London, Boudicca’s army headed northwards and laid waste to St Albans. Her crushing defeat by Roman governor
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Suetonius at the Battle of Watling Street probably took place somewhere in the Midlands. There is also scant evidence for Brockley Jack, a local highwayman after whom the Brockley Jack pub is supposedly named. That being said, highwaymen probably did target travellers on the common, perhaps using One Tree Hill to scope out their prey. Peckham Rye Common has been a place for recreation since at least the 14th century, when it was mentioned in connection with sports and stag hunting. By the late 1700s, landowners across the country were fencing off areas that had been public land for hundreds of years. This led to protests at Peckham Rye in 1766 and 1789, when a popular rhyme expressed the outrage felt by many: “The fault is great in man or woman, who steals a goose from off a common. But what can plead that man’s excuse, who steals a common from a goose?” Around 1767, a different type of radical was taking a walk through the area. Poet William Blake, who was then about nine years old, saw an oak tree “filled with angels, bright angelic wings bespangling every bough like stars”.
A Romantic and a passionate advocate of social justice, Blake used his poetry and art to elicit humanity and inspiration amid the worst horrors of the industrial revolution. There is a mural commemorating his “vision of angels” behind the playground at Goose Green. In 1864 trouble flared up again. Landowner Sir Edward Bowyer Smith allowed 32 horse-drawn vans on to the common filled with wild animals, including lions, tigers and possibly a rhinoceros or two. The animals belonged to Wombwell’s Wild Beast Show, a travelling menagerie that was a household name in Victorian England and performed for Queen Victoria and her family three times. Sir Edward’s unlikely new tenants were welcomed on to the common for a reason – he wanted to sell the land to developers. In response to his proposals, local people took their grievance to parliament in 1865. It was rejected, but a year later the government passed the Metropolitan Commons Act, enabling Camberwell Vestry to buy the common, together with Goose Green and Nunhead Green, to be used as public space. Peckham Rye Park was opened on May 14, 1894 and this early description
PICTURED ABOVE: A SUMMER’S DAY ON PECKHAM RYE Photo by Steve Keiretsu
THE COMMON FILLED WITH LIONS, TIGERS AND A RHINO OR TWO
by JJ Sexby is still recognisable today: “In a secluded hollow delightfully shaded with trees a lake has been made. It has an island in the centre and is fed by a small watercourse running though the grounds, which has been formed into a number of pools by artificial dams.” Meanwhile the common had lost none of its anarchic edge. Dorothea Teayne recalled her mother’s memoirs in a letter to the Peckham Society: “One Sunday afternoon there was a pro-Boer meeting (1899 or 1900). There was an enormous crowd, and feeling ran so high that the mob made a rush for the speakers and threw them into the pond. I can remember clearly how terrified I was, hanging on to Dad and being unable to keep my feet on the ground, just being dragged along with the crowd.” When Alfred Stevens of Homestall Farm died in 1907, what remained of his farm was incorporated into the park. It was used to create the bowling green and the Sexby, American and Japanese gardens. The Japanese Garden was inspired by a major Japanese-English exhibition that was held at White City in 1910. The original shelter and many of the plants were gifts from the municipality of Tokyo.
HISTORY | 25 Over the years, numerous attractions have come and gone. They include a bandstand, a dog’s paddling pool, a putting green and a model boat pond. To the north of East Dulwich Road is a derelict blue Art Deco fountain. This belonged to an open air swimming pool that once stood on the common, and plans to build a new lido are currently under discussion. There were also three whalebone arches in the park, one of which spanned the rustic bridge near the lake. It was considered good luck to walk under the arches, possibly because they looked like wishbones. Lovers also liked to carve their initials on them, which may explain why they eventually fell to pieces. Peacocks strutted freely about the park at one time, but a more unconventional attraction was the “rats’ dining room” near the bowling green. “The rats are most friendly,” one park keeper told the Daily Chronicle. “They don’t care for crowds, but on a quiet day they like to see the children and the children love coming here to feed them.” He added, rather dubiously, that he’d “never seen anyone run away from a rat”. Both common and park saw activity during World War Two. A German bomb destroyed the King’s Arms pub that overlooked the common, killing 11 people. Rebuilt after the war, it was turned into the infamous “Kings on the Rye” nightclub and is now flats. According to bombsight.org, 78 bombs were dropped in the Peckham
Rye area between October 1940 and June 1941. Underground air raid shelters were built in the northwest part of the common in 1939 with enough room for 672 people. From 1943, Italian prisoners were housed on the common. They were not considered hostile and had considerable freedom to come and go. Only one POW hut still remains. It has been used for many years by the One O’Clock Club for mothers and toddlers but is due for demolition in early 2018. In 1953 the Oval Garden, with its closely cropped lawn, formal flowerbeds and patriotic looking flagpole was laid out to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. No doubt a Union Jack flew from the mast in place of today’s Green Flag Award. In the decades that followed, parks and open spaces across the country began suffering from vandalism and neglect. In 1975 a rather snooty journalist from a south London paper had this to say about the common: “It stands like an island surrounded by the roar of the traffic, occasionally visited by ‘castaways’ like the meths drinkers and groups of jobless youngsters who bask in the summer sunshine or simply sleep it off until the next bottle.” The year of 1987 was an especially difficult one for Peckham Rye Park and Common. The lido finally closed. During a summer heatwave, the lake was starved of oxygen and hundreds of dead fish were found floating on the surface.
Then in October, the “Great Storm” that weatherman Michael Fish famously failed to predict brought down several trees. They lay piled on the common for several months before they were finally removed. The Friends of Peckham Rye Park came into existence in 1995. Since then – largely due to their efforts – the park has undergone a renaissance, which has included the planting of a community wildlife garden. The spot features a beehive, insect towers, meadows and a wetland area. Ablaze with colour in summer, the dogwoods in the winter garden give a sense of warmth even in the bleakest months of the year. It’s easy to drive past the common without noticing anything special, save perhaps the daffodils that line the roadside in early spring. It’s only when you step inside the park that you experience its beauty and variety;
PICTURED ABOVE: SHEEP ONCE GRAZED ON THE COMMON
CHILDREN LOVED THE RATS’ DINING ROOM
how it responds to the seasons and alters its mood with every kind of weather. There are plenty of unexpected surprises, like the intricately carved totem pole that overlooks East Dulwich Road. Then there’s the strange blue water that comes out of the fountain in the Sexby Garden. An unconfirmed explanation is that it’s a vegetable dye to prevent dogs getting infections. Talking of surprises, I recently saw an online post claiming that there were remains of a chimney stack behind the Japanese Garden. I never found the chimney stack but while searching, I nearly tripped over a memorial stone dedicated to a William H Shackleton. Further investigation confirmed that Mr Shackleton was of the canine persuasion, but the inscription “Ob Ob ZENA” remains a mystery. One of my most inspirational experiences happened early in 2009. Unusually for London, there had been a heavy snowfall the previous night. I came into the park to find lots of lovingly created snow sculptures, some of them full of detail. Parents and children must have come out early in the freezing cold to create these works of art, knowing full well they would melt in a day or two. That for me is what places like Peckham Rye are all about. The enjoyment of nature, a bit of healthy exercise and the spontaneity of creativity for creativity’s sake.
26 | DIVERSIONS TO THE GARDEN 1
TO THE KITCHEN 1
Easter eats ORANGE AND MARZIPAN HOT CROSS BUNS INGREDIENTS (MAKES 15 BUNS)
On the allotment BY JANE MERRICK
Is there any other time of year when the allotment undergoes such a transformation as it does between March and April? Late summer hangs around for weeks; autumn is such a long slide into winter. But spring – bright, verdant spring, not the early type with daffodils and frogspawn – seems to rush in overnight, and nowhere is it more noticeable than on allotments packed with fruit trees. On my plot in March, fattening buds on the damson, greengage and peach stand out on bare branches. The turn of the month sees them bursting into flower, a froth of pale pink and white petals against fresh green leaves. Beds begin to fill up with seedlings. Potatoes planted on St Patrick’s Day have produced spreading, heavy plants by mid-April. After getting chillies and tomatoes out of the way in January and February, I sow most vegetable seeds like lettuce and peas from early March. Seeds sown in longer daylight hours become healthier, stronger plants than those started off earlier. After several nights (and some days) of freezing temperatures this winter, I am worried that my one-year-old Italian artichoke plants have died, so I need to sow some reserves. I have grown the more common green globe artichoke for a few years but I wanted to introduce the smaller, goblet-shaped, purple violetta di romagna, which can be picked when they are baby-sized and tender enough to cook and eat whole. Artichokes sown from seed need to be left to grow for the first year before picking, but they are worth the wait. I will start these seeds off
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FOR THE BUNS 220g dried fruit Finely grated zest of 2 oranges 3 tbsp cointreau 3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice 240ml whole milk 1 cinnamon stick ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg 3 cloves 3 cardamon pods, bruised 500g strong white bread flour 75g golden caster sugar ½ tsp salt ½ tsp ground ginger 10g fast action yeast (I use Dove’s Farm Quick Yeast) 50g unsalted butter, softened 2 medium eggs, beaten 120g good quality marzipan, diced FOR THE CROSSES 4 tbsp plain flour 3-4 tbsp milk
in modules undercover from early March. Once they are past the two leaf stage, I will prick them out into individual pots and put them outside in April to acclimatise. By June they should have grown distinctive serrated large leaves, and will be ready to plant into the ground. I will add plenty of rotted manure so they grow strongly throughout the summer and are tough enough to get through winter. Artichokes die back at the end of autumn, but as long as they are not hit by heavy frost they will grow again in spring. Yet even in our mild spot of south London, the frost can kill overwintering perennials like these. Next winter I am taking no chances, and will cover the Italian artichokes with fleece in November.
BY NAOMI KNILL METHOD
Start the day before you want to bake your hot cross buns by preparing the dried fruit. Put the dried fruit, orange zest, cointreau and orange juice into a small pan over a low heat. Heat gently, stirring often, until hot. Remove from the heat, cover and leave overnight (or for at least four hours) until the fruit has soaked up all, or most, of the liquid. Put the milk, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, cloves and bruised cardamon into a small pan over a low heat. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for one hour. Mix together the flour, caster sugar, salt, ground ginger and yeast in a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer). Strain the milk through a sieve. Add the milk, butter and eggs to the flour and mix to form a sticky dough. Tip on to a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes (or knead with a dough hook in your stand mixer), until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Put the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave to prove until it has doubled in size (around two hours). Tip the proved dough on to a lightly
greased work surface and knock out the air. Scatter the soaked dried fruit and cubed marzipan on to the dough and knead until evenly incorporated. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces (you can do this by eye or by weight, which will give you more even buns). Roll each piece of dough into a ball and place in rows on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and leave to prove until they have doubled in size. Preheat your oven to 210°C. To make the crosses, mix the plain flour with enough of the milk to make a thick paste. Transfer the paste to a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle. Pipe crosses on to the buns, or if you don’t have a piping bag, use a teaspoon to draw the crosses. Bake the buns for about 20 minutes until golden brown (depending on your oven, they may need up to five minutes more). While the buns are in the oven, make the glaze (if using). Mix the sugar and water in a small pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved but not coloured. Remove the buns from the oven and brush the tops with the glaze. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Naomi Knill is an East Dulwich-based food writer and blogger. Read more of her recipes at thegingergourmand. blogspot.com
FOR THE GLAZE (OPTIONAL) 2 tbsp caster sugar 2 tbsp water Illustration by Jessica Kendrew
When she’s not tending her allotment in East Dulwich, Jane Merrick is a freelance writer for the Independent, the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Times. Follow her on Twitter @janemerrick23 and read her blog at heroutdoors.uk
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DIVERSIONS | 29 TO THE GALLERY 1
The Triumph of David Nicolas Poussin This work is one of French painter Nicolas Poussin’s first great masterpieces. The artist, who worked mostly from Rome, is renowned for his epic portrayals of scenes from mythology, classic poetry, ancient history and religion. Taken from the Bible’s Book of Samuel, this painting shows David’s triumphal return to Jerusalem following his defeat of Goliath, the fearsome giant he outmanoeuvred with a well-aimed stone from his sling. The cheering crowd that met David on his return provided Poussin (15941665) with a chance to explore the
theatrical language of human gesture. He depicts everything from the solemn thanksgiving of an old man to the joyful abandon of young women and the incomprehension of children. David is heralded by trumpeters and stands out from the crowd in his fiery red tunic, holding Goliath’s head on a stick. An x-ray of the canvas shows that Poussin reworked the painting several times before finally settling on this arrangement. The discovery has led to much debate over the painting’s exact date, but it is thought to have been created circa 1631-33. Source: dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk
TO THE BOOKSHOP 1
TO THE ARCHIVES 1
Here Comes Trouble
Loud and clear
BY JESSICA GULLIVER
Yorkshire-born Guy Fountain (18981977) was an engineer who founded the Tulsemere Manufacturing Company and owned a commercial garage in Dulwich. While working there he invented a solid-state rectifier made from an alloy of tantalum and lead. In 1928 he renamed the company “Tannoy” – an abbreviation of “tantalum-lead alloy” – and opened a small factory in West Norwood, where he manufactured the products. Tannoys were deployed to the armed forces during World War Two and were used by then prime minister Winston Churchill to make public addresses. The announcement that the conflict was over in 1945 was also made via Tannoy from Buckingham Palace. In the 1950s and 60s Tannoys became synonymous with Butlin’s holiday camps, where guests were routinely woken by a cheery “Good morning, campers!” over the chalet speakers. They were used by Redcoats to keep visitors informed of activities throughout the day. Today the word “Tannoy” has passed into common parlance in the same way as brands like Hoover and Biro and is listed in the dictionary. The company, which celebrated its 90th anniversary last year, even has a south London street named in its honour – Tannoy Square in West Norwood.
Local author Simon Wroe’s new book is the perfect novel for the times, these befuddling times where stupidity and senselessness seem to be the order of the day. The book is set in the fictional country of Kyrzbekistan, where Ellis Dau, 17, has just been kicked out of school. His father Cornelius edits local newspaper the Chronicle and Ellis is sent to work there, at first reluctantly. Within the city, a group of far-right clunkheads called the Horsemen are circling law and order, seething with anarchy, vulture-esque in the quest to derail peace, calm and democracy. It’s not long until a putsch sets in. With a power outage across the city, it really does seem like the end is nigh, culminating in a bloody day of murder and destruction. Add to this a teenage crush (on a billionaire’s daughter) and the realisation that his parents are actually people, not just parents, this is a coming-of-age novel with a kick. Ellis leaves childhood and its associated innocence behind and grows into an adult, with the added education of what totalitarianism is. Bonus! Who needs school when you’re living through a history and politics lesson in real life. At times events in the book and the real world seem to converge. As I read the novel, Cornelius was marched out of the newspaper office and arrested around the same time Trump began
his battle against the free press. Wealth, power and senseless hatred of difference is pitted against the integrity of the newspaper, if not the Dau family themselves, who incorporate humanity, fairness and decency, though not, thankfully, perfection. Ellis’s mother is fantastic, chain smoking throughout at the kitchen table, transcribing various documents and attached physically and emotionally to a pet parrot. The book is terrific in its detail, the characters rounded and filled with little quirks. £12.99, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (published April 20).
Images courtesy of gracesguide.co.uk
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30 | DIVERSIONS TO THE PUZZLE 1 2 44
ACROSS 1 SHINY PAINT (5) 8 PASTRY DISH (3) 9 TO DO WITH VISION (7) 11 IMPERIAL WEIGHT (5) 12 A DUN HEN (ANAGRAM) (7) 13 FORTUNE-TELLING CARDS (5) 15 GLOWING COAL (5) 16 BRIGHTEN HOUSE (ANAGRAM) (3,10) 19 FACE CLOTH (7) 21 READING DESK (7) 22 MEP HACK (ANAGRAM) (7) 24 CAPER, PRANCE (6) 25 DINE (3) 27 LARGE POND LEAF (4,3) 28 SOUTH AMERICAN RIVER (7) 30 GO ONE AFTER THE OTHER BY TURNS (9) 31 VINE FRUIT (5)
DOWN 1 DEVELOPMENT (6) 2 PROPRIETOR (5) 3 PAID OUT (5) 4 IN HER HELL (ANAGRAM) (5,4) 5 FILL OTHERS (ANAGRAM) (6,4) 6 MUSICAL STUDY PIECE (5) 7 SUDDEN FALL OF SNOW (6) 10 BLEW CALMER (ANAGRAM) (10) 14 LARGE SEA (5) 16 ILL SLEUTH (ANAGRAM) (5,4) 17 HAPPENING (9) 18 FUNNY STORY (8) 20 USELESS PERSON (2-5) 23 TV, MAGAZINES, CINEMA ETC (6) 26 LARGE BOOK (4) 29 EGGS (3)
The six anagram answers are all 16 Across, which is also an anagram.
TO THE HAMLET 1
SOLUTION ACROSS: 1 Gloss, 8 Pie, 9 Optical, 11 Ounce, 12 Nunhead, 13 Tarot, 15 Ember, 16 The neighbours, 19 Flannel, 21 Lectern, 22 Peckham, 24 Frolic, 25 Eat, 27 Lily pad, 28 Orinoco, 30 Alternate, 31 Grape DOWN: 1 Growth 2 Owner, 3 Spent, 4 Herne Hill, 5 Forest Hill, 6 Etude, 7 Flurry, 10 Camberwell, 14 Ocean, 16 Tulse Hill, 17 Occurring, 18 Anecdote, 20 No-hoper, 23 Media, 26 Tome, 29 Ova.
TO THE PAST 1
“Mad, bad and dangerous to know”, Lord Byron (1788-1824) was a leading light in the Romantic movement. From 1799 to 1801 he was a pupil of Dr Glennie’s Academy, a school on Dulwich Grove. Glennie was Byron’s first serious teacher. While studying in Dulwich he made his “first dash into poetry” in 1800, with a love poem for his cousin Margaret Parker. She died two years later aged 15. In 1801 Byron’s mother Catherine, who squabbled with Glennie, declared her son “must go to a public school” and he was enrolled at Harrow, where the headmaster described him as a “wild mountain colt”. He went on to study at Cambridge. Illustration by Peter Rhodes.
TO THE STREETS 1
Position Midfielder Born 1961 Alan Pardew was working as a glazier on building sites when he accepted a “rubbish” salary to join then second division side Crystal Palace in 1987. The midfielder-turned-manager was born in Wimbledon in 1961 and played non-league football part time. When he returned from a sixmonth glazing job in the Middle East, Billy Smith persuaded him to join Surrey side the Corinthian Casuals, who he was managing at the time. When Smith moved to Dulwich Hamlet he took Pardew with him and although he was later bought by Crystal Palace, he remained unsure about a career in football. “Glazing was good in those days,” he once said. “Noadsy paid me rubbish – £400 a week.” Pardew spent four years with the Eagles before moving to Charlton Athletic in 1991. He has reached the FA Cup final three times in his career, once as a player – when he scored Palace’s winning goal in the 1990 semi-final – and twice as a manager. After retiring he managed clubs including Reading, West Ham, Newcastle United and most recently Crystal Palace, but he was given the boot last December following a run of poor results. Illustration by Peter Rhodes
The robots of Court Lane by street art photographer Gordon Gibbens. Follow him on Twitter @GAGibbens.
Read more on the history of Dulwich Hamlet at thehamlethistorian.blogspot.co.uk
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